A Bit of Information
In 1984, the Crack epidemic began. Crack is an addictive smokable form of cocaine. How do you make this terrible substance? Simple. Mix baking soda with water and cocaine. Dry, crush into ‘rocks’ and smoke.
Since 1984, the use of crack has destroyed millions of families. Nancy Regan took on this plague with her famous “just say no” campaign. Addicts spent (and continue to spend) billions of dollars to get high on crack. Their money fueled many organized criminals leading to additional problems. Today, millions of people use crack, and I am sure it will continue to be a popular drug for many years.
Cocaine has been available for centuries. From Wikipedia: “In 1569, Spanish botanist Nicolás Monardes described the indigenous people’s practice of chewing a mixture of tobacco and coca leaves to induce great contentment.” In the United States, Cocaine became popular in 1890-1900, which led to the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act. This required narcotics to be dispensed with a doctor's order.
I want nothing to do with drugs, and I choose not to write about people having fun while high. However, this topic made me wonder about the simplicity of the event. One day, somebody invented crack. The next day, the entire world changed. Just like Morse and his telegraph or Edison and his light bulb.
What would have happened if crack had been invented earlier? Let’s pretend somebody invented crack in 1920. The Roaring 20s would have been radically altered, and it is likely that alcohol prohibition would not have occurred. The nation of Columbia would have been the center of a huge crime wave. Organized crime in America (and the rest of the world) would have exploded (like in the 1980s.) The WWII/Korean/Vietnam Wars probably would have occurred, but the stoned soldiers would have been less effective, and some fighting would likely have occurred in South America.
The 1950s would have had a 1990s style homeless epidemic and a huge drug problem. As a result, the ‘soft’ 1060s marijuana/LSD “fight the power” “peace” counterculture movement probably would not have occurred. Instead, people would have focused on drug education, healing, and good health. The 1970s-today culture would have focused on education instead of disco/partying.
Perhaps 10 billion additional lives would have been affected, and Columbia’s history would be drastically different.
Let’s pretend somebody invented crack in 1950. The drug craze of the 80s would have occurred in the Doo-Wop era. Drug counterculture would have started early and been a lot more intense. The Korean/Vietnam War would have been different due to wacked out soldiers. The 1970s would have been the beginning of a healing stage, and Disco would have had softer sounds. Perhaps 5 billion more lives would have been affected.
Let’s pretend somebody invented crack in 2010. The 1980s drug problem, organized crime, and problems in Colombia would have been a minor speed bump. Nancy Regan would not have had anything to talk about. In the 1990s, the meth epidemic would have combined with crack to make an explosive epidemic. Today, we would be facing an epic drug problem (like we had in the mid-1980s.) Side note. Melania Trump says: “just say no.” Hmm.
The point of this blog is that the crack recipe is simple. Baking soda, water and cocaine. I find it amazing that this simple concept radically altered billions of lives. Yet, this sentence does not read powerful. Let’s try it again. Baking soda, water and cocaine. Nope. Nothing there. Alright. Let’s spice the sentence up. “Baking soda,” water and cocaine! I think that made the sentence read worse.
How does this sentence compare to others? Let’s compare it to one of mine. “Society is fast becoming a brilliant child with a short attention span.” Hmm. One might argue [please make this argument!] this is a better sentence. Let’s try the best (arguably) sentence ever written. “When I wrote the following pages, or rather the bulk of them, I lived alone, in the woods, a mile from any neighbor, in a house which I had built myself, on the shore of Walden Pond, in Concord, Massachusetts, and earned my living by the labor of my hands only.” The sentence is the opening of Henry David Thoreau's Walden. Wow, no contest. That is a powerful sentence. Baking soda, water and cocaine? Ha! Not even a sentence.
Yet, a simple sentence has more destructive power than an atom bomb. “Information is power.” “The pen is mightier than the sword.” “What gunpowder did for war, the printing press has done for the mind.” -Wendell Phillips
We are now full circle. A simple concept can have a huge impact. It all depends on how, where, and when we choose to apply our ideas.


You’re the best -Bill
June 03, 2020
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